Chic Chairs
By Karen Parr-Moody


An accent chair can add "oomph" to a room, rendering it with a personality it did not previously possess. A chair done in a fabulous print can brighten up a monotonous color scheme. A sleek style can make a dated room look "au currant." An ornate chair can be the statement piece in a timeless room.

Remarkably, an accent chair is a stand alone item that can bring personality to a room without overtaking it. For example, there are many chairs that imbue a room with a whisper of femininity without making it resemble Mae West's boudoir. This chair in the photo at right — which is upholstered in a velvet the blush pink of a new rose — is such an example ($250 each, $450 for the pair; Booth T-194). It is a Louis XVI style armchair that has acanthus leaves carved into the frame. Unlike its predecessor, the Louis XV chair, the Louis XVI is characterized by an absence of sexy curves; they appear only in the the geometric oval of the back. In a nod to the columns of ancient Greece, this chair's trademark is its slender, tapering and fluted legs. All of this geometry is topped with a carved bow, which is apropos, as it is the perfect package.

 

 

The chair in the photo, left, is the "Louis Ghost Chair" that was designed by architect and designer Philippe Starck for Kartell ($285; B-247). Since hitting the scene in 2002, the piece has been featured in an array of shelter magazines and well-appointed homes and has become truly iconic. In creating the piece, Starck took the recognizable lines of the Louis XVI chair and, firstly, pared them down to their barest form. He then reinterpreted the chair in a material that was thoroughly modern: transparent polycarbonate. The result is strong yet delicate.



The walnut chair in the photo, right, is an interesting amalgam: While it has a Sheraton style leg and some scrollwork on the front, the curved back is pure Stickley ($185; Booth T-105). The man responsible for Stickley style was Gustav Stickley, the son of German immigrants to the U.S. With his brothers he founded a furniture company in 1883, but it wasn't until 1895, during his first trip to Europe, that his own game-changing style was to emerge. There he was influenced by the English Arts and Crafts and French Art Nouveau movements and went on to create a style of simple furniture that was in direct contrast to the overly ornate Victorian style.

These chairs in the photo, left, would take any room from vanilla to va-va-voom ($650; Booth T-277). With deep tufting and thick fringe, they are heady with romance. Such scroll back slipper chairs were first designed during the reign of Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was the President and second Emperor in France from 1852 to 1870. They have been popular since then, particularly as a lady's occasional chair for the bedroom or as a vanity or bath chair.

Accent chairs are that perfect addition that brings a room together. A quick trip around the original GasLamp or the new GasLamp Too is enough to get one inspired about accent chairs and how to confidently use them in one's décor.

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